Steamboat Springs A taste of the Yampa Valley will make its way to New York City this weekend.
On Saturday, Brian and Katy Vaughn, owners of bistro c.v. and Low Country Kitchen, will take their crew to the James Beard House in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village to showcase “New Rocky Mountain Cuisine,” the theme of the event.
They were invited last year by the James Beard Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission to educate and celebrate America’s culinary heritage through a variety of programs and events.
“It’s a big deal for our little town to be invited to cook at the James Beard House,” said Katy Vaughn. “It’s celebrating Steamboat, because ... people are realizing there is amazing cuisine that comes out of this region. New Rocky Mountain Cuisine isn’t something that’s popped up in foodie magazines yet, so I think that caught the foundation’s eye.”
The highly selective process to be invited to cook at the James Beard House is led by the James Beard Foundation trustees, the director of house programming and members of the volunteer-staffed programming committee, who select noteworthy chefs and restaurateurs based on evidence of their talents in the media and through word-of-mouth recommendations.
“A big thing right now in the culinary world is farm-to-table cuisine,” Brian Vaughn said. “One of the things that I think caught their attention was that almost everything on our entire menu is sourced within 40 to 50 miles of Steamboat Springs. That is our big focus: the farmers, gardeners and ranchers who are part of this community.”
According to the James Beard Foundation’s website, programs include educational initiatives, food industry awards, a national food conference, a leadership awards program, culinary scholarships and publications. The James Beard Foundation is also known for giving out awards that recognize chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors and food journalists and restaurant designers. These awards are also referred to as, “the Oscars of the food world.”
“It’s definitely an honor to be able to cook at the James Beard House,” said Cheren Leong, bistro c.v.'s sous chef, who has worked closely with the Vaughns for almost four years. “I think it’s an awesome culmination of everything that’s been accomplished. I’m really proud of this team that we have. They are amazing.”
The menus of both restaurants feature items from local producers, such as Yampa Valley Farms and Elkstone Farm, paired with carefully selected wines.
“Not many chefs get to do this and really highlight a specific area of cuisine they do,” said Brian Vaughn. “This is definitely the first restaurant in Steamboat Springs to ever get invited to the James Beard House to cook.”
When people think of dining in the Rocky Mountains, Vaughn said, they traditionally think of simple food, such as a steak and baked potato entrée.
“That’s what we are trying to do here, but just elevate it a little bit more and really focus on the local food that is found here,” he said. “It’s about celebrating the local farmers we use so much and highlighting the fact that you can be a farm-to-table restaurant in the middle of the Rockies year round.”
The dinner will include selections typically found on the bistro c.v. and Low Country Kitchen menus and will feature items such as the Flat Tops Wilderness lamb tartare with charred yogurt, cured-and-deviled eggs, spring herbs and flowers, the Yampa Valley Farms pork duo with heirloom hydroponic tomatoes, Moon Hill Dairy ricotta, herb puree and arugula and the smoked brook trout roe with ramps, morels, Butcherknife Brewing Company Morningside coffee porter gelée, crème fraîche and mountain hops.
“We are taking every bit of Steamboat that we can,” said Katy Vaughn.
To watch the team live at 3 p.m. Saturday, visit livestreamb.com and go to James Beard Foundation Kitchen Cam here.
To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1